When traveling, one of the objectives is to make the most out of your time and go home with the feeling of not having missed anything important from a newly discovered city. It is a complicated task, we know, so we are going to lend a hand with these few things you can do in Barcelona.
Walk to discover the city
Barcelona is a big city, but it has a perfect size to get to know it by foot. Forget for a day about the subway or tour bus and go through it, take beautiful walks and getting some energy with its wide gastronomic offer. You can choose to visit the most important buildings and city parks like the Ciutadella, the Joan Miró park and Montjuïc castle, but there is also a Barcelona that does not appear in the guides. We encourage you to go to Horta, experience the charm of the neighborhood of Sant Andreu, to see a lesser-known side of the Eixample and enjoy five unique panoramic views.
But there is also the opportunity to know the city by pedaling. The routes that run through it are numerous around the city and surrounding areas, so you can discover Barcelona on a bike, whether you are fit or not.
And if you enjoy running and you simply cannot stop doing it while on vacation, this is your chance.
Gaudí and Modernism
Undoubtedly, one of the tourist attractions -and also for those who live here- is to admire the modernist architecture and works of Gaudí in particular. You can find several examples of his work throughout the city, whether in civil or religious buildings. The most famous are the Sagrada Familia, impressive from the outside and inside; the Park Güell, a tale-like place that emulates an English garden, or La Pedrera. But make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to visit other Gaudí buildings that sometimes occupy a smaller place in the guides. For example, the Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Vicens or the crypt of the Colonia Güell, Santa Coloma de Cervello, outside Barcelona.
But Gaudí was not the only exponent of Modernism that left its mark on Barcelona. Also worth a visit, for example, is the Amatller House and the Palau de la Música, of Puig i Cadafalch; the Lleó Morera House, designed by Domènech i Muntaner or the Casa of les Punxes. Another example is the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, world heritage, and its gardens are an oasis amid the bustle of the city.
Go to a concert
Barcelona has plenty of live music venues, such as Razzmatazz and the Sala Apolo, but it also has wonderful concert halls. The Gran Teatre del Liceu is a splendid survivor, decorated with gold leaf, plush red carpets and much ornamentation. Look at the schedule, since the tickets are not always as expensive as it may seem and it’s a place worth visiting. Then there is L’Auditori, an elegant space with capacity for 2,400 spectators in which not only classical music programmes are shown, but also jazz or world music. The Palau de la Música Catalana is famous for its modernist architecture and the number of activities held. Barcelona is also host to several festivals, from the Primavera Sound to the Barcelona International Jazz Festival, the Sonar and Cruïlla, among others.
Discover the young Picasso’s Barcelona
Picasso remembered Barcelona as beautiful and bright, a city where he spent his early years. Follow the footsteps of the genius by visiting the enclaves that marked his youth. Walk down the Reina Cristina street and then cross to No. 3 calle de la Merce and see where his family lived, although the building was destroyed. If you need to make a stop along the way, get close to Els 4 Gats, a place where artists of the era got together for social gatherings, dinners and art meetings. Finally, visit the Museu Picasso, a gallery that houses the works of Picasso’s formative years.
Pintxos, tapas and vermouth
Pintxos, bite-sized dishes served on bread (the Basque version of tapas) are also a culinary trend in Barcelona. One of the best places is Euskal Etxea, where you can taste dumplings with ham, chicken pintxos with saffron mayonnaise, melted provolone with mango and ham, or a mini-brochette of pork, but there are many more interesting sites in the city.
But if what you want is to go for tapas, your choices are plenty. The more elaborate and traditional ones, places where patatas bravas are the stars of the menu, or bars where the best beer is served. Some of the must-visit ones are Quimet i Quimet, the Esquinica or El Jabalí.
This delightful cuisine could be completed with vermouth. Weekends are the ideal time because you’ll have more hours to go from one bar to another, but it really is always a good time to have some homemade vermouth, out of those historic liquor stores. We recommend the Bar Calders, La Pepita and Electricitat.